There is something magical about eighty degrees. If you can break eighty degrees in early spring, you feel like that winter has been defeated. When the ocean water gets to eighty degrees, there is no longer a shock to get into up to your knees.
I don’t mind the heat, but I do enjoy the early morning when we often see temperatures in upper seventies even in the heart of summer. When the nighttime temperatures don’t get below the magic eighty degrees, it seems like we have crossed a threshold.
There are a few options. One is to stay inside as much as possible. Generally if there is blue sky and the winds are under twenty miles per hour, not going outside is very hard for me to do. We moved to the Crystal Coast just so we could be outside most of the time, and I’m pretty stubborn about that.
The next option which is often my solution to the heat is to be on or near the water. Our water along the Southern Outer Banks is like no other water as far as I’m concerned. When the daytime temperature rises in the low nineties, I can still guarantee that a wave from the ocean slapping you in the middle of your back will cool you down.
There are lots of folks that like to be around swimming pools when it gets hot. Unfortunately when it doesn’t cool down at night, the swimming pools stay very warm. They might offer a little relief from the heat, but not nearly as much as a dip in the ocean.
Almost the same thing can be said for boating. On those nights when the temperature stays about eighty degrees Fahrenheit, you can count on the river being warm which means you need to keep moving or have a nice breeze to stay cool. However, you usually can find some relief if you get your boat over closer to Bogue Inlet where normally the breeze is a little more reliable and the water is a little cooler.
Our summer in Carteret county is not a fleeting one like the Canadian summers that I used to enjoy. It is also not like a summer in the city. We don’t have the buildings to absorb heat like a city, and we are fortunate in that we don’t have the huge expanses of pavement filled with heat generating vehicles.
Getting some days on the coast when there is little cooling at night is just part of life on the North Carolina coast. I try to take a pragmatic view of these days when you cannot escape the heat. I know the time will come when the warmth stored in the water will feel good as the air around us cools. The lingering warmth in the fall on the NC coast is one of the greatest things about living here.
Long after most people to the north of us have put their boats away, we’ll be enjoying the water. We can usually count on the nice warm weather through October. I like to say that you should never bet against warmth in the fall on the Crystal Coast.
Pleasant days over on the beach in October are not a rarity. Those days and the special ones in November and December come to us courtesy of all the heat our area waters store during the summer especially on those nights when the temperature doesn’t get below eighty.
When you can think about having shorts weather in December, the heat in July is a little easier to take. Of course, we’re lucky on the Carolina coast, you always have the choice of escaping to the mountains and enjoying a little mountain weather. There are mountains high enough in North Carolina that there is always some relief from the heat and humidity.
In the end you get used to the heat in our world where life without walls is just the way we live. Our grown children think we’re crazy when they come to visit. They find we have our indoor temperature set at 78F in the summer. Of course those of us who live on the coast know that if you set the temperature much lower than that, walking into your home from the warmth of the outside will feel like going into a meat locker.